I watch people. Not to stalk them, but to observe them. As I’ve observed others, including myself, I’ve noticed that the most confident people don’t have to tell you they are confident. And the people who don’t care what you think don’t have to tell you that either!
I have a certain person in my life who loves (loves!) to go around bragging about how she doesn’t care what people say about her. She takes a lot of pride in “speaking her mind” (sounds a lot like me 5 years ago). And she loves “boasting” about how she does not care what people think about her opinions.
But she isn’t boasting. I see through it. She’s just trying to convince herself she doesn’t care. And she’s trying to put up a strong front to make people believe they aren’t hurting her.
Wouldn’t it be nice to actually be one of those people instead of one who runs around screaming about their confidence and how they “don’t care”?
Let’s face it, the people who run around repeating “I don’t care what people think. I don’t care what people think” sound like annoying squawking birds who don’t know any other sentence! And I know this kind of woman well. I used to be exactly the same way.
What does it take to stop caring (for real)? That depends on the three scenarios of gossip:
1. The thing they have said about you is 100% true.
Then, so what? If you thought it was a mistake, recognize it as a mistake, correct it, and move on. If you think you did the right thing, be confident in your decision.
And remember, confident people don’t run around verbally defending themselves or boasting about how confident they are. If you’re telling everyone the entire story and how much you don’t care, you care.
2. The thing they said about you is partially true with some twists to make you look bad.
Well, that’s a testament to the type of people doing the talking, isn’t it?
If they have manipulated a truth into a lie or even if they heard it that way and are continuing to spread it, any chance of reaching them with any reasoning is slim. Chances of appealing to their good nature? Even slimmer.
Do you think you can reason with people who hear what they want to hear? Can you reason with people who spread things that may or may not be true?
These people love to keep stirring the s***, and I promise you nothing you say to them is going to make anything any better. In fact, this kind of person wants your response so they can make their version of the story better!
Stop trying to change other people.
And you can’t convince someone of something if they like their version of the “truth.”
3. The thing they said about you is a total lie.
Then, why do you care? The people who know you (or care to know you, or are even the least bit reasonable) won’t believe it. Or maybe they’ll come and ask you if it was true.
But watch the questions. If the questions continue and feel more like an interrogation, let it go! Speak the truth (when asked) and be finished with it.
If you aren’t asked, then maybe people don’t believe it. Jumping into conversations to defend yourself will only make you look insecure or like someone with something to hide.
I told myself a long time ago, there are only a few reasons why I would care what people say about me.
Either it is true and I don’t like the truth about myself. Or it is not true and I’m worried about what people will believe the lie.
But I told myself, if it is true, why would I be upset about that? I’m a human being, and I’m not perfect. People make mistakes, and those doing the talking are people, too. They have made mistakes. And they usually like to keep the talk about someone else so the focus isn’t on them.
And I said, what if it’s a lie? Why should I let lies about me hurt me? How is a lie about me any reflection on who I really am? I don’t want anything to do with people who believe lies about me anyway. No love lost.
I have had to revisit these questions a few times in the creation of this website. Every time I create an article, the old “What Will People Think” demon starts asking me all of these questions. I answer them the same way I wrote in this article. And keep writing.
Keep doing whatever you do. Stop caring what people say. And do whatever you do to the best of your ability and with confidence. You’ll know you’re confident when you can stop telling everyone how confident you are. And you’ll know you don’t care what people say when you can confidently ignore them.